Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 32, Issue 8, pp 435–445 | Cite as

The distal semimembranosus complex: normal MR anatomy, variants, biomechanics and pathology

  • Javier BeltranEmail author
  • Amir Matityahu
  • Ki Hwang
  • Marlena Jbara
  • Ron Maimon
  • Mario Padron
  • Javier Mota
  • Luis Beltran
  • Murali Sundaram
Review Article



To describe the normal MR anatomy and variations of the distal semimembranosus tendinous arms and the posterior oblique ligament as seen in the three orthogonal planes, to review the biomechanics of this complex and to illustrate pathologic examples.

Results and conclusion

The distal semimembranosus tendon divides into five tendinous arms named the anterior, direct, capsular, inferior and the oblique popliteal ligament. These arms intertwine with the branches of the posterior oblique ligament in the posterior medial aspect of the knee, providing stability. This tendon-ligamentous complex also acts synergistically with the popliteus muscle and actively pulls the posterior horn of the medial meniscus during knee flexion. Pathologic conditions involving this complex include complete and partial tears, insertional tendinosis, avulsion fractures and bursitis.


Knee MRI Normal anatomy Semimembranosus tendon Tendon tear 


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Copyright information

© ISS 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Beltran
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amir Matityahu
    • 2
  • Ki Hwang
    • 2
  • Marlena Jbara
    • 1
  • Ron Maimon
    • 1
  • Mario Padron
    • 3
  • Javier Mota
    • 4
  • Luis Beltran
    • 5
  • Murali Sundaram
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyMaimonides Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryMaimonides Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyClinica CEMTROMadridSpain
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyInstituto Clinica CorachanBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.New York Medical CollegeValhallaUSA
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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